I don't want this to turn into a waiting-for-death blog, so I'm going to keep the updates on my sister to a minimum. I do understand, though, that people are wondering what is going on. Here's the current state of affairs.
Cheryl is making crazy awesome progress recovering from her stroke. She went from paralyzed, unable to speak, and on the verge of death, to living at home, laughing, eating, talking, and getting around in a wheelchair in a matter of days. The doctors are astounded. Cheryl has the most amazing network of supporters I've ever seen. They have come out of the woodwork from all over the world to help out. She has had 24/7 care since Day One, including an RN friend who hopped a plane from Baltimore and has been caring for her nonstop since she was in the ICU. He took a leave of absence from work and is now living with Cheryl and her family, caring for her and keeping up with her rehab every day.
Other friends built two wheelchair ramps, widened the doorways in the house, remodeled the bathroom, and removed the rugs to make the house wheelchair accessible. And other friends are keeping up the house and yard and keeping everyone fed.
I am blown away by the number of people who love Cheryl and are willing to step up to help her. I have always adored her, but then, she's my big sister. It says a lot about the sort of person she is that so many other people love her so much.
As for the cancer, it is Stage IVB, which is the most advanced stage assigned to cancer. It is considered terminal and non-treatable. Cheryl has malignant tumors in her brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas, ovaries, muscles, lymph nodes, and now possibly her heart. She is currently undergoing radiation to the tumors in her brain in the hopes of preventing another stroke and keeping the tumors from further impeding her speech and mobility. Because her cancer has had a very unusual presentation, one of the oncologists has suggested it might respond to some chemotherapy. Cheryl and Diana are considering this, but are adamant that they will not follow a course of treatment that will compromise Cheryl's quality of life.
We are all incredibly grateful that Cheryl has had this time to spend with family and friends, and that she has regained the ability to speak and to get around. She is incredibly strong and positive and is truly an inspiration. Today is her 49th birthday, and I am so glad she is still around to celebrate it. Happy Birthday, Cheryl!